Posted by: patwogan | August 21, 2009

Home Economics-Cooking

The second semester of Home Economics in the ninth grade was cooking.  Now, I knew a little bit about cooking and my Mom was a great cook, so I figured this would be a fairly easy semester. 

I still had the same teacher as in sewing class.  We learned the proper way to set a table, how to fold a napkin, and had a lot of etiquette lessons.  Finally, we were able to go into the “cooking lab” or kitchen and learn to cook something. 

The first thing we learned to cook was  a pin-wheel biscuit.  This was biscuit dough rolled out thinly and then coated with cinnamon sugar and rolled up like a jelly roll.  It was then cut into slices and baked.  It was supposed to be like a miniature cinnamon roll when it was finished.  I guess it was, but it took a lot of imagination to make it taste as good as real cinnamon rolls taste.  Anyway, we had finally cooked something.

The next thing we cooked were muffins.  I guess we might have been working on a breakfast menu at the time.  The muffins we made were plain muffins, no fruit or anything added to them…just plain muffins.  Now, you may wonder why I remember these muffins so distinctly.  It’s because I was, as I mentioned earlier, too smart fory own good.One of my friends made a mistake when she was measuring the dry ingredients for her muffins.  Instead of a tablespoon of sugar and a cup of flour, she measured a cup of sugar and a cup of flour.  When the teacher came by to inspect her dry ingredients, she discovered the mistake, and angrily dumped the mixture into the trash.  My friend dissolved into tears.

I was determined to seek justice for my friend.   There had recently been a change made in cake making.  The traditional way was to cream the shortening and sugar, add eggs, and then alternately add the dry ingredients and liquids.  The new was was to measure all the dry ingredients and sugar into a bowl, and then add the shortening, eggs, and liquid and mix the whole thing together.   I went through the cookbook until I found a recipe for a new method of mixing cakes, and showed it to the teacher.  I asked her if it wouldn’t have been better to use the mixed flour and sugar in a recipe like this rather than wasting it by dumping it in the trash.

Surprisingly, she did not appreciate my help.  I don’t remember whether I called this to her attention during class or after class, but I imagine it was during class.  I don’t remember exactly what her response was, but I knew she was not happy!

My final grade at the end of the year was a D-!  I am sure that incident in cooking had nothing to do with the grade, but I am now a great cook and I would guess that those of you who have eaten at my table, especially my pies, biscuits, and hot rolls may be surprised to find out what my grade in home economics was a D-!  






































































































































This was right at the beginning of the change in making cakes from the method of creaming the shortening and sugar and then adding the liquid and flour mixture alternately into the mixture, to mixing the dry ingredients together, sugar, flour, leavening, etc. and then adding the liquid and shortening to the mix. 

Because my friend had been humiliated in front of the whole class, I was determined to seek justice for her.  I went through the cook book until I found a recipe for a cake using the new method and calling for mixing the flour and sugar together.  When I found the recipe, I showed it to the teacher and asked her if that recipe couldn’t have been made instead of wasting the flour and sugar by dumping it into the trash.

I don’t really remember if I approached the teacher during class or after class, but I did approach her.  Can you imagine what happened?  She was not happy about being told how to conduct her class or herself by a ninth grade smart-aleck student.  I don’t remember the complete details, but do know that she didn’t thank me for calling that to her attention.  

I did feel vindicated, though.  No matter what she thought, I had stood up for my friend and had at least tried to right the wrong I felt had been done to her.

That may not even have been a contributing factor to my final grade, given my lack of ability in sewing, but I came out at the end of the year with a D-!  I’m sure the little incident in cooking class was remembered by the teacher and probably was fodder for discussion in the teacher’s lounge at the time!  From the perspective of the teacher, I can’t say I blamed her, but I’m not sorry about it.  If I learned anything, it may have been to be a little more subtle, although I doubt it.

By the way, I am now a great cook, and I’ll bet that some of you reading this who have eaten at my table, especially my biscuits and my hot rolls are surprised by my Home Economics  grade!


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